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White hopeful of trouble-free 2019 Targa opener

Local hope Jason White is confident reliability issues with the potent Dodge Viper will not return at the CAMS Australian Targa Championship opener, Targa North West from February 16-17.

Jason and John White (Photo credit: Angryman Photography)

The classic American supercar was stricken with two separate mechanical issues at the event last year, forcing White and co-driver John White to ultimately retire from the Burnie-based tarmac test.

The White’s bounced back to win the next three events of the inaugural Australian Targa Championship season – Targa Tasmania, Great Barrier Reef and High Country.

However, the North West retirement cost the Whites dearly as they fell short of winning the overall Modern outright title by a mere eight points.

The title went to the consistent Paul Stokell in the lighter but less powerful Lotus Exige. The Viper and the Exige are set to re-engage their David and Goliath battle again this season.

“The system rewards consistency,” White commented.

“But that’s the way of the championship and the way Targa really needs to be.

“It rewards consistency and participating and finishing more than anything.

“And when you push the limits DNFs are part of the landscape for us.”

White is cautiously optimistic the frustrations which surfaced at Targa North West last year will not hamper his 2019 campaign.

“On the first day last year the hose blew off the fuel pump on the tank,” White recounted.

“We fixed that overnight but then our power steering failed on Day 2.

“I had bumped up the pressure on it, because I had some severe tennis elbow issues.

“So I made the steering a little bit lighter but it obviously didn’t like the extra pressure in there.

“It eventually blew the seal out of the end of the rack.

“But the elbows are all back to standard and we don’t imagine there would be any similar dramas with that again and we isolated the problem with the fuel pump.

“We’ve won the last three events since and those issues haven’t reared up again.”

Targa North West based out of Burnie features six stages on Day 1, Saturday February 16, which kicks off with the short 3.79km Montumana blast with the lunch stop at Stanley.

Day 2 on Sunday will close with the fourth repeated run through the time-honoured Hellyer Gorge pass that stretches just over 20.60km.

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